The other night, during the opening segment of "The O'Reilly Factor" -- in which Bill O'Reilly speaks in slow, short sentences so his audience doesn't get frightened and confused by, you know, words -- he specifically addressed what he referred to as "the problem with liberalism." In reality, it was just another excuse to mislead his viewers and to demonize Planned Parenthood.
"There's no question Planned Parenthood is an abortion factory," O'Reilly intoned, "and there's no question the group sells the body parts of dead babies and fetuses."
As we've been covering here at Salon, 97 percent of what Planned Parenthood does is completely unrelated to abortions; therefore it's perhaps the world's least productive "factory." Put another way, if 97 percent of Bill O'Reilly's online store was only stocked with Steve Doocy merchandise, it would be kind of ludicrous to refer to it as Bill O'Reilly's store. And, no, I don't expect his viewers to understand a lick of what I just wrote. (Nor to accept that the abortions that are performed at Planned Parenthood are, ahem, entirely and unequivocally legal.)
O'Reilly continued by saying,
"The liberal philosophy is based on fairness for the underdog. Helping those who are down and out. Protecting the defenseless. Yet unborn babies don't count. How does that work when the liberal line urges social justice?"
The theme of the rant very well could've been "the problem with conservatism" because the above statement implies that conservatives, unlike liberals by O'Reilly's own words, don't care about fairness for the underdog or helping people who are down and out. Many of us already know this to be true, of course, but it's odd and a little jarring sometimes when a television conservative accidentally blurts it out. So, yeah, O'Reilly and his writers kind of stepped into that one. It really makes his insufferable smirk while delivering the line all the more amusingly ironic.
One thing we know for sure, however, is that conservatives really, really care about people -- strictly, though, from the moment of conception until the moment of birth. After that, we’re on our own, especially if we happen to not be white Americans. It doesn’t require extensive research to demonstrate how the Republicans have opposed nearly every measure that would provide for fetuses after they're actually born. In fact, other than preventing abortions, the modern GOP has done basically nothing to guarantee maternal healthcare, which, of course, is kind of important in the gestation process. Nor, for that matter, has the GOP done anything for neonatal care.
It's really no wonder why the Republicans are accused of focusing on abortion solely as a means of controlling women and their choices. If that weren't the case, and if Republicans truly cared about babies, here's a sure-fire way to significantly reduce the abortion rate without criminalization or archaic laws:
Make pregnancy free.
Providing free healthcare during and immediately following pregnancy for both the mother and the child is crazy talk, I know. But the anti-choice movement, which has gone so far as to make abortion in the cases of rape or incest a matter of legitimate public debate now, while also treating a series of fraudulent videos as legitimate, should be working to make it easier for women to choose life.
So, it ought to be in the best interest of the anti-choice brigade, if they're sincere in their opposition to abortion, to mitigate this very addressable reason for it. With one piece of legislation, which I'm sure the congressional Democrats and the White House would support, the GOP could potentially reduce the abortion rate by nearly a quarter. That's roughly 2.5 million fetuses that could be carried to term over ten years, provided Congress votes to significantly reduce of the cost of bearing and raising a child.
Or, are Republicans more concerned about government spending than human fetuses? That's for them to decide.
It's for them to decide whether saving 2.5 million fetus is worth paying for totally free and universal healthcare for both pregnant and post-natal women as well as the children they birth. That'd also mean job and housing support, nutritious food and universal paid maternity and paternity leave. If the health and life of the fetus is so important, then caring for that life should be priority number one for the so-called "pro-life" crowd.
But they'd rather make the process either illegal, dangerous or wrought with harrowing big government intrusions and mandates (transvaginal ultrasounds) and, in the case of working class women, absolutely no means of having children without going broke in the process. Meanwhile, a not insignificant chunk of the movement is also opposed to health insurance companies covering contraceptive services and, indeed, are also opposed to government subsidies for health insurance premiums. They're also opposed to Planned Parenthood, which provides millions of people will birth control services -- services that prevent abortions. What this reveals isn't necessarily concern for fetuses, but instead a neolithic agenda to subjugate woman by controlling their reproductive choices.
It also reveals, contra O'Reilly, that liberals actually do care about protecting women and children, "defenseless" or not. Because while the right to reproductive choice is sacred and constitutional, liberals also believe that circumstances should be as conducive as possible for women to avoid unintended pregnancies; to avoid abortions; and to safely and securely conceive, carry and raise healthy children. Why doesn't O'Reilly agree? Someone should ask him.
Sure, we shouldn't hold our breath waiting for the anti-choice movement to change any time soon. But it's important to underscore this glaring point of hypocrisy: that the anti-choice movement supports a government mandate to carry a pregnancy to term, but provides no means to either support or prevent unintended pregnancies.